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Interview: Cosmic Psychos Chat With Dick Move - New Zealand Tour

Interview: Cosmic Psychos Chat With Dick Move - New Zealand Tour

Lucy Suttor (Dick Move) / Dick Move photo credit: Frances Carter / Wednesday 27th September, 2023 12:35PM

Having recently celebrated 40 years of music, Aussie pub-punk legends Cosmic Psychos are heading to Aotearoa this November. I spoke to frontman Ross ‘Knighty’ Knight about the beauty of excelling in the “school of fool” and why you should never give up your day job.

Cosmic Psychos

Thursday 16th November - Valhalla, Wellington w/ Dick Move
Friday 17th November - Totara St, Tauranga w/ Dick Move, Grown Downz*
Saturday 18th November - The Yot Club, Raglan w/ Dick Move, Grown Downz
Sunday 19th November - The Mothership, Auckland w/ Dick Move, Grown Downz

Tickets available HERE via UTR
*Tickets available via

Lucy Suttor (Dick Move): Knighty! How are ya? How’s the farm?

Ross Knight: Yeah good mate. It’s going alright, a bit warmer and not as wet which is great.

Glad to hear it. First things first, congratulations on 40 years of Cosmic Psychos!

Well yeah! It’s gone very quick I must say, so it must have been fun.

Having been on tour with you guys I can attest to the fact that you still go pretty hard. Perhaps gone are the days of sewing your sleeping band mates to the tour van seats, but are you still enjoying tour life as much as you used to?

Heck yeah, only thing now is that I don’t have hair in my eyes so that’s probably the only difference. We probably don’t go as hard as we used to, but that just goes with age. Doesn’t matter if it's touring with Guns N' Roses and playing stadiums or playing with you guys at the Barwon Pub, it’s all just as much fun.

I take a moment to reminisce fondly about the show in Castlemaine where Macka (Psychos guitarist John *mad Macka* Mckeering) generously poured schooners of vodka for us pre-show. He then fell into the amp wiping it clean off stage, and I drank two bottles of gorgeous South Australian shiraz and fell asleep in a bathtub.

Ha! Yeah fantastic, that’s Macka for you, he’s a lovely host isn’t he?

In the doco (Blokes You Can Trust, a truly fantastic watch, directed by Matt Weston), they highlight the influence you guys had on the Seattle grunge scene when you exploded out of Spring Plains in the '80s. At the time, as young blokes from Australia, did it feel like you were making such an impact?

Honestly no, we were over there so much and were such great mates with people doing similar stuff to what we were doing, did we think we had any influence on them — No!? Because we were just having too much fun. I guess when it comes down to it there’s ‘two schools’ in music — there’s the school of ‘cool’ and the school of ‘fool’ and we tend to excel in the school of fool. For the ones that were in the school of cool it was probably a nice change for them to hang around with three clowns, basically.

There’s a great moment where Eddie Vedder and Butch Vig (drummer for Garbage and co-producer of Nirvana's Nevermind) are commenting on the fantastic simplicity of your song writing, and how the lack of subtext in your lyrics was almost profound, as it was so different to what anyone else was doing at the time. Back then did you sense much of a cultural difference between the young American musicians and yourselves that may have contributed to this?

I guess it’s just how you approach music. A lot of people approach music with a very serious attitude and they’re very proud of their work and put a lot of effort into it, but because music for me has just been a 40 year hobby, it’s easy just to be myself, and keep it as simple as possible. I'm blessed to know so many talented musicians, and I know I’m poles apart from them. It’s great to know that a central-Victoria-farming-twit can be such great mates with these influential and world famous musicians. Our attitude was so relaxed and so unprofessional it was probably a nice change for them, being constantly surrounded by serious industry folk. Not saying there’s anything wrong with the latter, if you’re talented enough go for it, I don't have that talent so I’ll just be the bloke in the corner with a lampshade sitting on my head, I’m happy with that.

It seems this relaxed attitude towards showbiz has become a defining characteristic of you guys as a band. Could you reflect on any other valuable life lessons that 40 years on the road has taught you?

Over the 40 years god knows how many bands we’ve played with but you make friends for life. When we were starting out and playing first on a bill of 6 or whatever, we were treated sometimes really well but sometimes really badly by people with big heads. And I thought, if we ever get anywhere that's one thing I’ll never do, I’ll never treat anyone badly, and that goes as far as the bands you play with to the people sweeping up the broken glass at the end of the night. You gotta say g’day to everyone when you walk in and thank everyone when you walk out. And even if you’re no good and everyone hates you, as long as you’re polite you’ll always be asked back, so there’s a little secret.

Totally, great advice. And the sheer hospitality you guys bring to a green room — it was always arms wide open, what’s mine is yours, take a seat and have a drink — I think this attitude instils some really great core values in a band going ahead.

Well it takes no energy to be nice but it takes a lot of energy to be angry and a shit head. It's quite obvious, don’t expel any energy on the bad stuff. We’ll probably peter out one day and we’ll be back to where we started playing first on a bill of 21 or whatever. But we don’t care we’re still gonna be smiling and having fun, it doesn’t worry us.

Last time you were in New Zealand was in 2017, do you have any fond memories or places you want to revisit when you come back?

Oh look, anywhere and everywhere, I love playing there and I reckon I could live there at the drop of a hat. So much of that place reminds me of where I live. I like the general attitude and I just find the place friendly, and just beautiful. I just like the pace, it reminds me of the local ‘bigger cities’ close to me like Bendigo or Castlemaine. You’ve got good beer, good tucker and good people so I’m happy.

Do you have a favourite New Zealand beer?

There’s so many different ones around now but in the past, in Seattle, a while ago now, I got everyone drinking the Steinlager. In the '90s. I don’t know if they still make it? I don’t see it around as much as I used to. I introduced that beer to everyone in Seattle and before you knew it they were all drinking it.

Oh yeah, bloody good. That’s definitely still around. I’ll have to introduce you to a hometown (Gisborne) classic of mine, half Steinlager and half Purple Goanna, we call it a Tuatara.

Unreal. I look forward to that.

If anyone has a hook up for Purple G’s, hit me up. I haven’t seen them since I left Gizzy.

It seems you have no plans on slowing down, the tour schedule before you grace our shores in November is pretty stacked! They are about to embark on whopping 28 date tour of North America with the Chats, Schizophonics and Gymshorts.

Yeah we will be home from the States just long enough to catch our breath, then heading to NZ will be almost like heading off for a holiday for a week, it’ll be great.

One last thing, do you have any further advice for young bands hoping to make it to four decades?

Oh yeah, it’s quite simple, and this has been my answer for 40 years. Don’t give up your day job. Never give up your day job. It’s hard work, but just have fun. In my style of writing music, the anti-social style of writing music, if you don’t work and you don’t have a part of your life that’s absolutely shit because you’re broke and you need to go out and work, there’s nothing to write about. So keep working, and maintain the rage.


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Cosmic Psychos
Thu 16th Nov 7:30pm
Valhalla, Wellington
Cosmic Psychos
Fri 17th Nov 8:00pm
Totara St., Tauranga
Cosmic Psychos
Sat 18th Nov 8:00pm
The Yot Club, Raglan
Cosmic Psychos
Sun 19th Nov 8:00pm
The Mothership, Auckland